Dietary Supplements and Medications in Elite Sport – Polypharmacy or Real Need?.

J. Suzic Lazic1, N. Dikic1, N. Radivojevic1, S. Mazic1, D. Radovanovic1, N. Mitrovic1, M. Lazic2, S. Zivanic1, and S. Suzic

Purpose: To describe qualitatively and quantitatively dietary supplements (DS) and medication use in elite athletes. Athletes reported medications and DSs taken within 3 days before doping control. They analyzed data collected from 2006 to 2008, indentified and classified substances. Total of 74.6% athletes reported use of at least one substance,61.2% took DS (3.17 per user) and 40.6% took medications. Among users, 21.2% reported the use of six and more different products, and one took 17 different products at the same time. Majority of medication users took non-steroidalanti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) (24.7%), and 22.2% used more than one NSAID.

Conclusions: No gender differences occurred in DS use. Individual sport athletes used more DS. Their study showed widespread use of DS and drugs by elite athletes. Consumption of DS with no evident performance or health benefits, demonstrated the need for specific educational programs focused on DS use. Amount, quantity and combination of the reported products raised concern about the risk of potential side effects.

IN PLAIN ENGLISH: The proliferation of dietary supplements and medications (and their purported benefits) has created an “I have to take (fill in the blank) to be successful” notion in our society. If not taken, a performance disadvantage (supposedly) will exist. The days of eating a sensible diet, working hard, sleeping well, being confident and going into competition gung-ho is passé..